Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nepal politics: Finalisation of constitution

  • Its been 5 years since a peace accord was signed to being to an end decade long civil war
  • The constituent assembly has failed to finalise consitution despite its term being extended several  times. Its term will end in may 2012
  • Supreme Court (SC) has declared that the current extension is final, and if the constitution is not promulgated, there should be another election or referendum
  • There is also rising popular pressure to wrap up the prolonged transition, which has been accompanied by abysmal service delivery.
  • The key focus in peace process is integration of former maoist army personnel into nepalese army
  • In november 2011 parties agreed to absorb only some maoist members while others would be given cash incetives and retired
    1. This has created divisions within maoists. Many maoists feel this compromise is humiliating
  • The delay in the peace process has generated mistrust between parties
Type of democracy
  • Another major issue of debate is form of democracy
    1.  Maoists want a directly elected presidential system;
    2. the Nepali Congress want a traditional parliamentary system
    3. Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) want a directly elected Prime Minister and a constitutional President
  • Nepali congress fear that Mr. Prachanda will win in a direct presidential election, and then become authoritarian
  • Maoists, for their part, have said they cannot accept a parliamentary system against which they waged a war
  • Many people support presidential system which is more stable than a parliamentary system
  • A compromise model that emerged to resolve disputes was a so-called mixed “French system.”
    1. President would be elected by the people and would take charge of foreign and defence policy;
    2. the Prime Minister would be elected by the legislature and be responsible for day-to-day administration
  • this has drawn criticism on the ground that having dual centres of power will lead to conflict and policy paralysis
  • proposal is to create provinces on basis of cultural identies of people
  • Many from dominant communities like Bahuns and Chhetris (hill Hindu upper castes) are sceptical of federalism
  • On other hand marginalised communities like Janjatis (indigenous ethnic groups) and Madhesis see demarcation of federal states on the basis of cultural identities as essential for their empowerment.

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